Category Archives: Books

Dr. Chodakiewicz’s “Intermarium” in the Slavic Review

Intermarium, by Mark ChodakiewiczThe Slavic Review, a peer-reviewed academic journal published by the Association of Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies (ASEEES), has reviewed Dr. Marek Chodakiewicz’s Intermarium: The Land between the Black and Baltic Seas (Piscataway, NJ: Transaction Publishers, 2012). The review was published in Vol. 73, No. 1 (Spring 2014) of the Slavic Review on pages 163-164.

While generally critical of the book for ideological and political reasons, the reviewer recognizes that Intermarium was based on a “huge array of primary and secondary sources,” acknowledging that it “may be used in graduate seminars on the history of eastern Europe, nationalism, and the Cold War.” He also finds “convincing” Dr. Chodakiewicz’s analysis of the mechanisms of post-communist “transformation” whereby the communists reinvented themselves as social democrats, liberals, or ethno-nationalists.

However, the author of the review disagrees with Dr. Chodakiewicz regarding the geostrategic intentions of post-Soviet Russia. Accordingly, he depicts one of the book’s arguments-which calls for the necessity of stronger ties between the countries of Central and Eastern Europe (i.e. the Intermarium) and a close alliance with the United States-as a “Cold War project designed to forewarn readers of the dangers emanating from Russia” and to construct a pro-American “cordon sanitaire.” The review, downplaying the geopolitical threat from the Kremlin, was undoubtedly written before Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine and annexation of Crimea.

Please click here for the website of the Slavic Review.

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Dr. Chodakiewicz’s work mentioned in book on genocide

Dr. Marek Chodakiewicz—who currently holds the Kościuszko Chair in Polish Studies—wrote many monographs on the German and Soviet occupations of Poland and the greater Intermarium region of Central and Eastern Europe. These studies inevitably dealt with genocides committed by both totalitarian regimes.

The Manor of HorrorAs an expert in the field, Dr. Chodakiewicz was mentioned in a recent book on Soviet mass murder in the Vilnius/Wilno region (before the Second World War a part of Poland, now the capital of current-day Lithuania): Rokas Tracevskis, The Manor of Horror: The Soviet-Era Mass Grave in Vilnius (Vilnius: Genocide and Resistance Research Centre of Lithuania, 2013). His name appeared in the context of the Ejszyszki attack of 19-20 October 1944.

In his work on the subject, Dr. Chodakiewicz clarified that the Ejszyszki incident—which was falsely and inaccurately misrepresented by Western historiography as a pogrom perpetrated by Polish “Fascists”—was actually and simply an operation by the Polish anti-Nazi, anti-Soviet resistance against the Soviet NKVD and its collaborators.

The case study of Ejszyszki offers a universally applicable insight into inter-ethnic relations during times of war and conflict.

The current historiography on the Intermarium: Hetherington, Kunicki, Applebaum

During the Wednesday, 13 February, Intermarium lecture, Dr. Marek Jan Chodakiewicz discussed and compared three recent works on twentieth-century Polish history:

Hetherington’s book is a labor of love by a geologist-turned-amateur-historian. Kunicki’s book on Bolesław Piasecki is just the opposite. The object of Hetherington’s admiration is interwar Poland’s strongman, Józef Piłsudski. Originally a patriotic socialist revolutionary with an eighteenth-century Grand Duchy of Lithuanian noble mentality, Piłsudski moved somewhat to the right after seizing power in Warsaw in a coup (May 1926).

Kunicki’s “whipping boy,” in turn, was a radical nationalist leader in interwar Poland and an anti-Nazi, anti-Soviet underground resistance commander during the war. Following his arrest by the newly-imposed communist regime, Piasecki chose to collaborate with his captors. Until his death, he ran a “progressive Catholic” organization/publishing house known as PAX.

Hetherington is sometimes apologetic towards his hero and unfair towards Piłsudski’s detractors, but his book is generally useful, particularly for the English-speaking audience. Kunicki’s work, on the other hand, was originally written as a doctoral dissertation almost a decade ago and hasn’t been updated by the author since. It contains no original scholarship and falls into the category of the “blame nationalism for communism’s sins” genre.

Like Hetherington’s biography, Anne Applebaum’s study of the Sovietization of Central and Eastern Europe after the Second World War is a step in the right direction. Unlike many postmodern scholars in the world of academia, who deny that communism was totalitarian, Applebaum has no qualms about calling a spade a spade. Overall, she understands that the entry of the Red Army into Central Europe in the wake of the retreating Wehrmacht was by no means a “liberation,” but a swap of occupations. She is also fair to usually vilified segments of the Polish anti-communist underground. Applebaum also emphasizes that communism destroyed the spirit of cooperation and charity.

It is a pathetic reflection of the state of the historical profession in the era of postmodernism that a journalist and a geologist are capable of more insightful and objective work on the history of Poland than a professional historian.

Intermarium now available via eBook

Intermarium, by Mark ChodakiewiczDr. Marek Jan Chodakiewicz’s Intermarium: The Land Between the Black and Baltic Seas (Piscataway, NJ: Transaction Publishers, 2012) is now available in a convenient eBook form. Thus, it can now be read using Kindle, Nook, Kobo, Sony eReader, and many other devices.

The book is a history of Central and Eastern Europe and attempts to restore the region between the Black and Baltic Seas—which for centuries constituted the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth—as a historical and cultural entity of its own. This is a long-awaited response to and corrective of hostile narratives inspired by the propaganda of powers which invaded, partitioned, and occupied the Intermarium during various periods of its history. Dr. Chodakiewicz, however, encourages us to view this eastern rampart of the West not from the perspective of Moscow or Berlin, but through the eyes of its own people, who are slowly rediscovering their roots after decades of destructive communism.

To purchase your Intermarium  eBook please visit the Transaction Publishers website.

Dr. Chodakiewicz publishes new book on the Intermarium

Intermarium, by Mark ChodakiewiczThe Kościuszko Chair of Polish Studies is proud to announce the publication of Dr. Marek Jan Chodakiewicz’s groundbreaking new study on Central and Eastern Europe, Intermarium: The Land between the Black and Baltic Seas, by Transaction Publishers.

To purchase the monograph, please visit the Transaction Publishers website.

To buy via Amazon, please click here.

Description

History and collective memories influence a nation, its culture, and institutions; hence, its domestic politics and foreign policy. That is the case in the Intermarium, the land between the Baltic and Black Seas in Eastern Europe. The area is the last unabashed rampart of Western Civilization in the East, and a point of convergence of disparate cultures.

Marek Jan Chodakiewicz focuses on the Intermarium for several reasons. Most importantly because, as the inheritor of the freedom and rights stemming from the legacy of the Polish-Lithuanian/Ruthenian Commonwealth, it is culturally and ideologically compatible with American national interests. It is also a gateway to both East and West. Since the Intermarium is the most stable part of the post-Soviet area, Chodakiewicz argues that the United States should focus on solidifying its influence there. The ongoing political and economic success of the Intermarium states under American sponsorship undermines the totalitarian enemies of freedom all over the world. As such, the area can act as a springboard to addressing the rest of the successor states, including those in the Caucasus, Central Asia, and the Russian Federation.

Intermarium has operated successfully for several centuries. It is the most inclusive political concept within the framework of the Commonwealth. By reintroducing the concept of the Intermarium into intellectual discourse, the author highlights the autonomous and independent nature of the area. This is a brilliant and innovative addition to European Studies and World Culture.

Editorial Reviews

“The Intermarium is one of the most culturally and politically significant regions of Europe. Yet historians and journalists too often limit themselves to a consideration of interests of the powers that have ravaged it. In this fascinating and deeply researched book, Marek Jan Chodakiewicz restores the region’s separate identity. He shows the interplay of its peoples and their often tragic destinies, but also the traditional love of freedom that makes the Intermarium a vital source of support for the ideals of the West.”

-David Satter, Hudson Institute; Foreign Policy Institute of Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies

“Dr. Chodakiewciz’s unprecedented, long-overdue impeccably researched and extraordinarily well-argued study directly challenges the common view of the Intermarium as mere borderland between the “West” and Russia. Professor Chodakiewicz’s clarity of thought, highly readable prose, impressive command of 1,000 years of the area’s history, and his unique perspectives gleaned from expert analysis of a multitude of foreign archival material rarely seen in English compel all those in academia, the US government, and the US foreign policy establishment to overturn the Moscow-centric approach to the Intermarium that has governed US foreign policy for the last 70 years.”

-Dr. Robert W. Stephan (CIA Ret), Adjunct Professor Institute of World Politics; author, Stalin’s Secret War, Soviet Counterintelligence against the Nazis 1941-1945

Intermarium: The Land between the Black and Baltic Seas is an important, path breaking work. It serves to redefine our conceptualization of the European world.The comparison of [Chodakiewicz’s] efforts with those of Raul Hilberg is on target.”

-Irving Louis Horowitz, Hannah Arendt Professor Emeritus, Rutgers University

“This extraordinary new book by Professor Marek Chodakiewicz, a scholarly yet eminently readable and engaging tour de force, should establish his reputation as one of the most erudite historians of what is generally known as Central and Eastern Europe writing in the United States today. Ever the iconoclast, Professor Chodakiewicz exposes a plethora of inaccuracies and disinformation about this region promoted by Russian-and later Soviet-imperialist narratives, exacerbated by varying American biases which, over the course of more than a century, have resulted in a grossly distorted understanding of this critical part of the Western world which, in turn, prevents a clear appreciation of its own heritage rooted in the ideology of freedom. Many in academia will find his analyses unsettling; but no honest reader can fail to be impressed by the thoroughly researched arguments and the enormous breadth of his perspective. Intermarium is a breathtaking accomplishment.”

-Juliana Geran Pilon, director, Center for Culture and Security Institute of World Politics

“Based on noble ideals obscured by layers of colonialism from East and West, Chodakiewicz’s vision of Eastern Europe’s potential is boldly drawn and elegantly written.”

-Ewa Thompson, research professor of Slavic Studies, Rice University

“In this broad-minded and generous work written in the spirit of Oskar Halecki and Norman Davies, Chodakiewicz explores both the history and the contemporary problems of the lands between the Baltic and Black Seas. His work will prove essential for both academics and policy makers as well as any reader seeking a deeper understanding of the complexity and diversity of east-central Europe.”

-John Radzilowski, University of Alaska Southeast

Scholars tackle distortions on the Holocaust in Poland in a ground-breaking new study

Golden Harvest of Hearts of Gold?The Nazi German occupation of Poland claimed a staggering death toll: approximately 3 million Polish Jews, and up to 3 million Polish Christians, overwhelmingly Catholics. Since the 1940s – and particularly following the implosion of communism – volumes have been written on this subject, their relative quality notwithstanding. Many lacunae were eventually filled. Even so, the history of Polish-Jewish relations during the Holocaust continues to be plagued by stereotypes, prejudice, and propaganda.

Setting the record straight, a team of logocentric scholars – Prof. Marek Jan Chodakiewicz, the head of IWP’s Kościuszko Chair in Polish Studies; Paweł Piotr Styrna, historian and KC researcher; and Dr. Wojciech Jerzy Muszyński of Poland’s Institute of National Remembrance (IPN) – has co-edited a much-needed corrective: Golden Harvest or Hearts of Gold? Studies on the Fate of Wartime Poles and Jews (Washington, DC: Leopolis Press, 2012).

This original and insightful new study is an anthology of inter-disciplinary essays by specialists in history, ethics, law, and political science. Based on primary sources, forensic evidence, and survivor testimonies, the ground-breaking work challenges much of the conventional wisdom haunting scholarship on Polish-Jewish relations under the German yoke.

Golden Harvest or Hearts of Gold? also seeks to restore individual free will to its rightful place in thinking about the Holocaust in particular, and inter-ethnic conflicts in general, which has been all too often handicapped by sweeping, collectivistic assumptions.

Finally, the authors expose the unsavory and unsettling totalitarian pedigree of more recent interpretations of Polish-Jewish relations under the German occupation. The claim of mass Polish Christian collusion with the German Nazis in the plunder and extermination of the Jews, they demonstrate, is actually rooted in crude postwar Stalinist propaganda serving to legitimize the Soviet occupation of Poland. Ironically, the allegation that Poles benefited from the Final Solution also happens to echo Nazi wartime propaganda. Golden Harvest or Hearts of Gold?thus represents an effort to exorcise the demons of twentieth-century totalitarianism – which are incompatible with serious scholarship – from the field of Holocaust studies.

This book is ideal not only for students of Poland or the Holocaust, but also for anyone interested in wartime psychology, ethical questions, and the dynamics of inter-ethnic relations.

To discover more, please see the synopses of the book’s chapters are available in English at: http://heartsofgoldpl.com/. To learn more about the publisher, please seehttp://leopolispress.com.

To purchase your very own copy of Golden Harvest or Hearts of Gold? please click here.